The art of making great presentations

Portrait of successful female explaining something on whiteboard to her colleagues

Whether you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, CEO, manager, or a sales or marketing professional, there is no escaping the fact that you need to make good presentations. Everything that needs to be done in your job both internally and externally needs you to make a pitch, so that people can buy your idea and lend their support to you. Great presentations are not just about great communication skills but also about the way you present your content and how you use it to achieve your goal. So here are some quick tips on making awesome presentations.

A) Be crystal clear about your objective:

This seems so basic and a no-brainer but you will be surprised how many presenters don’t really start here and discover their objective and story much later in the presentation creation process. The question to ask yourself is what do I want achieve or what is the favorable outcome that I desire after this presentation. Ask yourself probing questions before you embark on making your presentation, do I want to pitch for resources? do i need feedback on a strategy? or is it just a general business review etc. Once you have a clear objective the rest of the presentation will just fall in place.

B) Have a good storyboard:

Once you are clear with the objective you need to plan your presentation first with a pen and paper or you can take it to a white board. A presentation is very much like a movie or a documentary. Think through what is the story you want to tell. Who are your main characters and what do you know about them? How do you want the information to be portrayed? How do you want the story to flow and end?

C) Get an emotional Hook

Is there an emotional angle you can bring to the story? Is there an element of inspiration in your story,  like highlighting any struggles that you need to overcome to achieve your goals? Though people in work places behave logically they are emotional beings as well, and fundamentally they won’t be inspired if they are not emotionally connected. Always think in terms of benefits to the audience and don’t be internal focused on yourself, your organization or your products. Show interest in their needs and they will show interest in you. It’s only when you have a strong storyline is when you move to the actual digital presentation.

D) The actual presentation format

– Your theme should determine the colors and fonts you use. But if you need use standard fonts and corporate colors please do so in order to reflect consistency with your organization’s personality. The key is consistency with your pitch and org personality.

– Give yourself 3 to 5 minutes per slide, so if you have 30 minutes then don’t exceed 10 slides.

– Text in bullet form is good but no more than 3 to 5 bullets per slide. Each bullet point should preferably end in one line.

– If you presenting to an external crowd, assume people will like your presentation to be social media friendly where you give them data in form of snippets that they are tweet.

– Make your data meaningful and highlight your analysis of the data. Don’t expect your audience to do the math if there are certain data points that need to be calculated to illustrate a point then do it.

– Always site data sources, keep your presentation ethical by given credit where due. Data sources should be public unless you have special permission to use confidential data from the source of information.

E) Rehearse Well

Even the best of the presenters rehearse their content. Rehearsing helps deliver punch lines and important data points effectively and with ease. Also build a contingency plan for infrastructure issues like projector problem, resolution issues etc. Ask yourself if you can make a presentation even if you didn’t have your slides on. Preferably carry a hard copy of your presentation as a reference point for situations like these.

F) Be confident

Lastly be at ease and comfortable with yourself. If you need to arrive early to the place to be comfortable with the surrounding environment then please do so. You won’t be convincing if you are not sure of yourself. Be simple, assertive and comfortable.